New Central Queensland research facility to take on clinical trials

The fight against coeliac disease has opened up on a new front with the launch of a clinical trials research facility in Mackay today.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute would capitalise on the expertise of Queensland medical researchers and scientists to trial life‑changing drugs and vaccines and help build the state’s biopharmaceutical sector.

She said trials for the coeliac vaccine Nexvax2 was the institute’s first cab off the rank.

“The Queensland Government contributed $300,000 in seed funding to help establish this facility, and through this support, Queensland is playing a pivotal role in work that will take us a step closer to an effective treatment for coeliac disease,” Ms Jones said.

“Until now, the only effective treatment for coeliac disease was eliminating gluten from the diet – and that was never foolproof.

“If trial results are positive, the vaccine could benefit one in 70 Australians and provide relief from a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

“The trials conducted at this institution will advance medical research and help many people worldwide.

“By doing so, Mackay will be well placed to join other multi-million-dollar global clinical trial programs.

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing in new industries like biopharmaceuticals to create the jobs of the future in Central Queensland – that’s what our half-a-billion-dollar Advance Queensland initiative is all about.”

Ms Jones said Dr James Daveson, a specialist in coeliac disease with a clinical practice in Brisbane and Mackay, had been appointed Director of the new Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute and Principal Investigator for the coeliac trials.

“Dr Daveson’s expertise and global connections were instrumental in establishing the institute and bringing phase two of the coeliac trials to Queensland,” she said.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the institute would put Mackay on the map as a clinical trials destination and in time, help the region secure a slice of a lucrative market.

“This is a historic day for Mackay as we officially launch the clinical research institute – the first of its kind in Central Queensland – and kick off what we hope will be the first of many patient trials here,” she said.

“The Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute is potentially a game changer for Mackay and an important part of the government’s ten-year roadmaps to build regional capability and grow key industries like the biomedical sector.”

US-based pharmaceutical company ImmusanT leads the global coeliac trials.

ImmusanT CEO Ms Leslie Williams was in Mackay today to open the institute with Minister Jones.

Dr Bob Anderson, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of ImmusanT, who led the development of the vaccine, was also present.

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